Will Apple Introduce Over-Ear Headphones, Will it Drop Beats?

With rumours circulating online among the Apple faithful about leaked reports on new-model IEM pricing, mystery over-ear headphone icons on upcoming OSX builds and that the global software/hardware giant may be considering phasing out the Beats brand in favour of its own designs, nothing seems for sure.

When you invest $3.2 billion in a company (which is what Apple bought Beats for in 2014), I imagine there’s a longer game playing out here than meets the eye. Regardless, news of a full-blown, over-ear wireless headphone from Apple is sure make a lot of other wireless ‘phone manufacturers nervous.

IEM makers certainly felt the impact of the AirPod and AirPod Pro on their bottom lines, and with the surge of many companies bringing wireless designs to the burgeoning market who aren’t even in the headphone business (Montblanc, for example), I don’t think it’s a stretch to think many are wondering what chilling effect Apple-branded wireless over-ear cans will have on their products sales.

While Beats products still have sales cachet thanks to the global-reach famous, musicians, athletes, movie and TV stars, sales are down from their peak a few years ago according to numerous online sources. Whether the Beats design and engineering team that came with the purchase six years ago will remained focused on Beats-centric goals is anybody’s guess, but with Android users continuing to be left out in the cold by more and more models being Lightning-equipped only, maybe it won’t be long until Apple is selling headphones with a big ‘a’ on them.

Apple Inc.

audx's picture

I don't have actual sales numbers but AirPods and to a lesser extent AirPods Pro are outselling everything.

I don't have numbers but again I would suspect that Beats was probably #1 prior to AirPods.

Apple isn't looking to sell in the thousands, their market is in the millions.

The audiphile market is likely in the thousands.

To some extent it baffles me that Apple would even make a full size headphone. Because I doubt that this market is anywhere near as large as the AirPods/Pro market.

When I'm out in public, AirPods are ok. I don't want to wear a full size pair or even contend with them.

Apple's whole thing is wireless. There are a few Beats models that are still wired but the focus is wireless. They have 3.5 mm plugs not lightning.

AirPods will work with Android devices and even older Apple devices that are technically not compatible.

They're just more work initially to pair them. And you lose the fancy interface that pops up on a compatible Apple device that shows an image of each of the AirPods along with the charging case. It also shows the charge level.

Anyway, I suspect that Apple is competing with Beats as much as with others.